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SportPicks NBA Preview w/ Smokehouse Mike

Saturday May 27

Eastern Conference Finals

Boston Celtics (57-25) 2nd in the East versus Miami Heat (44-38)8th in the East

Boston is a 3 point favorite and Vegas has the total at 210

Injuries: Celtics’ Brogdon, forearm, is a game time decision; Gallinari,knee, is out. The Heat’s Vincent,ankle, is a game time decision; Herro,hand, is out.
Key Players: Jason Tatum 27.7pts 10.4 reb 5.3 ast
Jimmy Butler 28.8 pts 6.7 reb 5.5 ast

Heat leads the series 3-2

Vegas early action shows 61% lean toward Celtics and 60% favor the over

SmokeHouse Mike’s Pick of the day.
MLB: Braves $line
Pirates and Mariners over 7.5

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Deep Dive: National Title Game, Michigan-Washington, January 8, 2024

Deep Dive: National Title Game, Michigan-Washington, January 8, 2024

 

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Barnes Betting Report: Deep Dive, College Football Playoffs, Rose Bowl, Alabama vs. Michigan

Deep Dive: Alabama-Michigan Playoff, Rose Bowl, January 1, 2024

  • Predictive Role of Talent in the BCS. A team in a title-deciding post-season game with more than 20 NFL players on their roster has never lost to a team with less than 20 NFL players on their roster in modern college football history. Excluding Saban teams, the team with a definite big talent edge in the BCS era (such as a 10+ edge in recruiting rankings) is 10-0 straight up and 10-0 against the spread, with every victory by double digits and an average margin of victory of 21 points. Saban’s teams with a big talent edge in the BCS era is a perfect 7-0, and 6-1 against the spread, with every victory by double digits and an average margin of victory of 18 points.
  • Predictive Role of YPP in the BCS. More predictive has been performance against similarly ranked offenses and defenses than overall season numbers which can be inflated. That said, only 1 offense outside the top 35 has won the title, and that was Alabama’s run-heavy Derek Henry led offense in 2015. Michigan’s offense is currently ranked 43rd in yards per play. Equally, only 1 team won a national title without a top-30 defense in yards per play, the 2010 Auburn squad, whose 3rd ranked offense and favorable BCS matchups won the title, as title-game opponent Oregon also featured a defense outside the top 30. A team with top-30 rankings in both offense and defense against a team without those rankings in BCS play was undefeated until Michigan lost to TCU last year, 12-1 straight up and against the spread in the semi-final round.
  • Talent. Alabama, consensus #1 ranked team in recruited talent, features 50 NFL prospects according to consensus recruiting rankings, including 7 offensive lineman, 3-deep at QB, 5-deep at running back, 8-deep at wideout, 8-deep on defensive line, 12-deep at linebackers, and 7-deep at defensive back. Michigan, consensus 14th ranked team in recruited talent, features 15 NFL prospects on the roster, including QB, 3-deep at running back, 2 wideouts, 4 offensive lineman (1 who is hurt and out), 4 linebackers, and 2 defensive backs. According to PFF grades and mock draft boards, Alabama features a half-dozen consensus top-50 NFL draft prospects, and Michigan none. Michigan’s best NFL prospects (aside from an injured offensive lineman) are QB McCarthy, RB Corum, TE Barner, LB Colson, LB Barrett, and DB Johnson. Alabama’s best NFL prospects include QB Milroe, WR Burton, WR Bond, OL Latham, OL Roberts, OL Booker, OL Proctor, RB McClellan, RB Williams, DL/LB Turner, DL/LB Braswell, DL/LB Eboigbe, LB Campbell, CB McKinstry, CB Arnold, CB Amos, DB Moore & DB Downs. Alabama triples Michigan’s talent level at each level, and is better at every position room.

Season Comparisons

Yard Per Play

Michigan Offense: 6.1, 43rd

Michigan Defense: 4.3, 4th

Alabama Offense: 6.4, 30th

Alabama Defense: 4.9, 18th

  • Michigan’s offense finished outside the top-40 offensively, around 6.1 yards per play, averaging 4.7 yards per play against top-20 defenses. Alabama’s offense finished in the top-30, despite facing much better defenses across the season, with a 6.4 yard per play average, and only dropped slightly to 5.8 yards per play against top defenses. Michigan’s defense finished in the top-5, though it feasted on poor offenses, facing only 1 offense in the top-40 all season, to whom it gave up their season average of 6.5 yards per play. Alabama’s defense finished in the top-20, giving up 4.9 yards per play, despite facing many top-30 offenses, to whom it gave up 5.7 yards per play, almost a yard below those team’s season average. A yard per play projection of Michigan’s season would project a yard per play deficit of 2 yards per play, or 20 points. A yard per play projection of Alabama’s season would project a yard per play edge of 1 yard per play, or 10 points.
  • Michigan’s Season. Many computer-driven power ratings, which struggle with inter-conference comparisons and to measure the ability to scale, will have Michigan favored over Alabama, and this will drive the Vegas spread in favor of Michigan, despite knowing the public will bet heavy Alabama. Michigan only faced one more talented team this season: Ohio State at home, the only top-50 offense they faced all season. Michigan gave up 6.5 yards per play to the Buckeyes in Ann Arbor, allowing Ohio State 100% of their season average. Michigan faced 4 top-20 defenses, including Penn State, Iowa, Ohio State, and Maryland. Michigan’s yards-per-play in those 4 matches were 5.3, 4.3, 5.6, and 3.3 yards per play, for an average of 4.7 yards per play.
  • Michigan’s History under Harbaugh: Of note, both poor performances against top-20 offenses or defenses fit Michigan’s patterns offensively and defensively under Harbaugh when he scales up in competition. Under Harbaugh, Michigan faced 25 top-20 defenses; his offenses never exceeded 5.6 yards per play in any of those matches, averaging the same 4.7 yards per play his offense averaged this season. Equally, Harbaugh’s defenses struggle to scale up, as his defenses faced 15 top-30 offenses in his tenure, and those offenses bested 5.6 yards per play in every single matchup, averaging 6.7 yards per play, almost identical to what they gave up to the only top-50 offense they faced this year, in what was considered a down year for the Buckeye offense (so much so, the QB entered the transfer portal already). Michigan scales down very well; it scales up very poorly. (In this regard, it’s much like Oregon’s 2023 team, another team Vegas’ power ratings badly misread in the post-season). Michigan away from home against a more talented team is 1-6 under Harbaugh, with a median loss margin of 21 points, including bad losses to more talented SEC teams in post-season play, such as a 19-point loss to Alabama, a 26-point loss to Florida, and a 23-point loss to Georgia. Harbaugh at Michigan with extra time to prepare against a top-20 foe is 0-8 straight up and ATS, including two losses to Saban’s Bama squads by margins of 19 and 27.
  • Alabama’s Season: Alabama faced 4 top-30 defenses, including Georgia, Texas A&M, Tennessee, and Texas. Of note, 3 of the 4 featured more defensive talent than Michigan, and Tennessee’s defensive talent is closer than most would realize. Alabama exceeded 5.6 yards per play in 3 of the 4 matchups, averaging 5.8 yards per play. Alabama faced5 top-30 offenses, 3 of whom feature more recruited talent than Michigan, and two are quite comparable, in LSU, Texas, Georgia, Tennessee & Ole Miss. Alabama’ defense gave up 5.8, 5.4, 5.7, 7.3, and 4.8 yards per play, for an average of 5.7 yards per play.
  • Alabama’s History under Saban: Excluding the Sarkisian offenses, this fits the pattern of Saban’s teams at Alabama offensively, which average 6.4 yards per play historically. Last year, Alabama’s offenses also averaged 5.7 yards per play against top-30 defenses. Of note, against other top-20 defenses historically, Alabama averaged a comparable 5.6 yards per play offensively, excluding the explosive Sarkisian offenses. Against highly ranked non-conference less-talented defenses in 14 matchups under Saban excluding the Sarkisian offenses, Alabama averaged over 7 yards per play, including dominating offensive performances against highly ranked Big 10 defenses.  Saban’s Bama record against the Big Ten and Notre Dame, excluding equally talented Buckeye squads, is 9-0, with the closest margin 16 points, and the median margin of victory 21 points. Saban against a lesser talented top-20 ranked foe, with more than 2 weeks to prepare (excluding bowl games with major opt-outs), is 23-0, with every win by double digits, and a median margin of victory of 21.
  • Matchups. With points out of the passing game in modern high-end college football, we'll focus on that. Alabama’s 4th ranked passing offense from a yard-per-play perspective goes against a defense that only faced 1 passing offense in the top 50 all season using that same metric, Ohio State. Ohio State had the same yards per play passing against Michigan in Ann Arbor that was their season average, 9.0 yards per play. Alabama faced 2 top-30 pass defenses, Georgia and Texas, and averaged 8.8 yards per attempt in those matchups. Michigan’s 14th ranked yard per play passing offense will be the 6th top-35 passing offense it faced this year; Alabama gave up 8 yards per attempt in those matchups. Against top-30 pass defenses, Michigan averaged 7.5 yards per pass attempt.  Both teams feature good run offense and run defenses. Michigan faced 4 good run defenses, Penn State, Iowa, Ohio State and Maryland, averaging 3.5 yards per rush. Alabama equally faced four top-30 run defenses in Texas, Tennessee, Texas A&M, and Kentucky, averaging only 3 yards per rush. Bama squared off against six good run offenses in LSU, Tennessee, Georgia, Auburn, Kentucky, and Texas, conceding less than a 3 yards per rush. Michigan faced no run offenses in the top-40 in the country, with the closest being Penn State which managed 164 yards rushing on 4.7 yards per rush, as even QB Allar rushed for positive yards, a worrisome indicator for Wolverine backers against good runner QB Milroe. In terms of individual matchups, Alabama holds the edge at every single positional matchup as Milroe and McCarthy are comparble, Corum and Bama's backs are comparable, and Wilson and Burton are close, but the defenses are not, giving Bama a decisive individual matchup edge when comparing the two teams as units. This shows up in the comparable yards per play against comparable foes, where Alabama holds the edge up to 10 to 20 points over the course of a typical game. Whether the game will be typical is yet to be determined. 
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Barnes Betting Report: Championship Weekend Deep Dive

A deep dive, with talent-based power ratings, yard-per-play performance based power ratings, and third party independent database game simulation power ratings, and inidivudal game write-up of each title game. A few sites I utilize often:

https://collegefootballdata.com/teams

https://www.pff.com/greenline/ncaa

https://247sports.com/Season/2023-Football/CollegeTeamTalentComposite/

http://www.cfbstats.com

https://collegefootballnerds.com

 

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